Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Is Tommy a “real” pit bull? Depends on who you ask

What’s a “real” pit bull, anyway? I've read that it isn't a real breed, that “pit bull” is a term to describe a group of breeds.

For a while, I wondered whether I should stop referring to Tommy as a pit bull. When I was immersed in my trial-by-fire education about these dogs after taking Tommy into my home, it seemed the politically correct name was “American Staffordshire Terrier.”

But I’m sorry: when someone asks me what kind of dog Tommy is, I’m not going to say “American Staffordshire Terrier mix.” That’s eleven syllables!

Compare that to “pit bull mix.”

Three simple syllables.

Rolls right off the tongue.

I suppose it can conjure up images of dog fights and gangs and deadly attacks. But I’d rather work on changing the perception of what a pit bull is and can be than distance myself from the maligned stereotype that induces so much fear.

Back in the 70s when I grew up, Tommy would just be a mutt. On the other hand, I don't recall seeing any dogs running around Long Island suburban streets that looked like Tommy.

So, what’s a “real” pit bull? Here are some sites with their version of the answer:
Pit Bull Rescue Central
Official Pit Bull Site of Diane Jessup
Bull Dog Breeds
American Kennel Club - American Staffordshire Terrier


  1. I love pit bulls. They are the sweetest dogs. My dog is a boxer mix (vet thinks he's mixed with mastiff, I'm not sure about this). My next dog will be a pit bull mix. Mixed breeds are great dogs. Like most dogs, pit bulls, because they're so trainable and willing, reflect what their owners teach them.

    Not to hijack your blog, but I know a sweet female bull who's looking for a home. You have enough on your hands, but I know I'm not the only one reading.

  2. I'm glad to hear you're a pit bull fan. They're great dogs, but definitely need someone committed to working with them. I agree they reflect how they're treated and trained by their owners.

    The link you posted isn't working. I'm hoping that means the dog was adopted. Was she a black and white dog? An email was recently making the rounds about a black and white female pit looking for a home. She sure was cute.

  3. It's a link to a facebook post. It works for me; maybe that's because I'm signed in to facebook? I don't know. Voodoo. Anyway, that sounds like her. Skye, my friend who found her, updated me today and says she has two possibilities for a home for her. My fingers are crossed.

  4. My fingers are crossed too. Hope she finds a good home.

  5. Jen, excellent point! But Tommy will always be a pit bull mix to me. :)